The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has set up a working group that will publish recommendations about how charities should prepare for European rules that will require "unambiguous consent" from supporters and the public over how they are contacted.
The group, which will be chaired by Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, will consider the ongoing reform of EU data protection laws, which will require consent for the use of personal data to be "freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous".
The group will examine what this will mean in practice for charities when applied to fundraising communications and report back to the NCVO board in the summer.
Although the rules are not expected to come into force until at least the end of 2017, Adamson said that charities needed to start considering the potential effects.
"Now is the time to put in place the principles and processes that will backstop charities' relationships with donors and the public," he said.
"The new data protection rules will mean significant changes for some charities' fundraising strategies. The issues involved are potentially complex. Our group will endeavour to map out a path to give charities some confidence as they approach them."
The other members of the working group are Liz Tait, director of fundraising at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, Tim Hunter, director of fundraising at Oxfam, Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, and Eleanor Harrison, chief executive of GlobalGiving UK.
The group would receive support from a lawyer with expertise in data protection law, the NCVO said, although it was not yet able to confirm who this person would be.
The NCVO is also offering charities the chance to take part in a wider reference group that will act as a sounding board for the working body.
Any organisations that would like to be part of this wider group should email Elizabeth Chamberlain, policy manager at the NCVO.